Yesterday, the Mexican Heritage Plaza in San Jose, California, threw a fantastic Frida bash, called Viva Frida. It was sold out and I can understand why. This second annual tribute to the Mexican painter and provocateur was an incredible event.
When I entered the plaza, VIVA FRIDA in huge letters greeted me, seen above. There were also several movable walls with photographs and reproductions of Frida’s paintings filling the central space. Around the perimeter of the plaza, as if hugging the words and images, there were booths filled with an array of colorful items, such as paintings, clothes, jewelry, pillow covers, wooden boxes, flowered headbands, etc. They were all dedicated to Frida’s iconic images.
A student at Abraham Lincoln High School made the painting of the monkey with a third eye, seen below. The school had a booth, which featured impressive shirts, fingernail decals, furniture, painted coffee tins with cacti in them, paintings, and collages. I spoke with some of the students and a teacher who all exuded a passion for their school, Frida, and art. It’s wonderful to see how Frida is still inspiring a younger generation.
Just outside the plaza, there were two more spaces. One was indoors and it was filled with different types of mezcal and tequila. They also served Frida margaritas with flowers floating on top. Just outside this large room, there was a beautiful grassy area with trees and a reflection pool. Here you could sit and relax or stroll through the additional booths surrounding this garden.
A mariachi band played throughout the day, one of Frida’s favorite types of music. They helped create a lively environment. It was also nice to see a talented young girl playing violin and singing with the band.
The day ended with a Frida fashion show and a look-alike contest. Both were impressive. I’m including a few examples of the fashion show, the Frida look-alike contestants, and the winner, all seen below. I spoke to the winner whose name is Claudine. Even though she is from France and not Mexico, I knew the moment I saw her that she would win the contest. It was close, however, as Claudine had to battle it out with a Frida contestant dressed in “male” attire. Both captured importance aspects of Frida, but there was something about the way Claudine held herself that radiated Frida’s beauty, charm, and elegance.
I think Frida would have been tickled that the woman who won the contest shares the same name as Claudine, the fictional character in Colette’s first four novels. Colette's Claudine starts out as a self-assured French girl and by the end of the series, she’s transformed into a charismatic woman. She sounds a lot like the little Mexican girl who rode her bike as fast as she could through the streets of Coyoacán, becoming the woman who dazzled men and women alike (See photo of Frida by Edward Weston at the end).
I was dazzled yesterday by the communal spirit of Frida!
© Celia S. Stahr 2017